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Pay-as-you-go CTO: What should SMEs consider when IT planning?

Alexey Nayda, CEO and founder of Sparkybit discusses the need for SMEs to see the bigger picture when planning for IT

When kicking off operations, many start-ups and SMEs tend to focus on the smaller objectives rather than looking at the bigger picture. This results in a few bumps in the road as the business grows – especially when it comes to IT planning. Across the SME landscape a common challenge encountered by many is the lack of ability to deliver a technical strategy that aligns with the business strategy as a whole.

As business becomes increasingly digital, SMEs realise that they need to embrace technology, but aren’t necessarily sure why. It can be obvious what needs to be done in order to fulfil the crucial business objectives, but knowing how to do it with technology is a different matter. So, what should SMEs consider when it comes to IT planning?


Employing a Pay-as-you-go CTO:

When they are starting out, most businesses may look to implement technology as part of their digital transformation strategy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they require a full time CTO. For many SMEs, the ROI would not warrant the creation of this role.

However, looking to outsourcing companies can be the perfect balance between blindly implementing a digital transformation strategy and hiring a costly full-time member of the c-suite. A well-placed outsourcing company can become an SME’s “fractional CTO” instead. Working on a consultancy basis, this enables the SME to address the key issues at hand in a cost and time-efficient manner.

It isn’t a requirement for businesses to have someone all the time to make sure everything is running efficiently, but bringing in a pay-as-you-go CTO can ensure that things are heading in the right direction. Often SMEs don’t necessarily see the issues that confront their business and believe that all of their tools are working efficiently – instead it requires an outside perspective to shine a light on the areas that need improving so the problems can be realised and then fixed. An outsourcing company with both business and IT expertise will know how to introduce new methods and processes in a way that ensures employees across the business won’t resist them – when new processes are introduced gradually, they’re more likely to be embraced.

How can Outsourcing help?

The outsourcing company can be viewed as the adviser, helping to improve processes, communication and technological issues as these can be one and the same. Inviting in an experienced outsider to the business can iron out these issues and ease the introduction of technologies by an expert that has this expertise.

Sometimes separate teams within an organisation can be like different companies within themselves, lacking connection and with misaligned visions. Implementing the outsourcing expert as a business translator can pull the teams together, align their insights and ensure that they speak the same language that unites their business goals for the benefit of the organisation as a whole. Finding this common ground leads to better performance and happier customers and clients – many issues within a business can be simply traced back to misaligned communication.

With all departments on the same page and working fori the same goals, it is easy to see where technology can be slotted into the business to improve performance and efficiency to an even greater level. With the support from a fractional CTO to guide the business in the right direction, SMEs can work with these technologies, realising the best way that they can be employed within their specific operations and develop a technology strategy that complements and supports the business strategy, rather than distracting from it.


The need for agility

It’s vital that SMEs are agile as they grow. They must be open to change at all levels: rather than being afraid of mistakes, departments should be able to see that change and mistakes can be beneficial for operational efficiency. If employees are afraid to adapt their current methods, it often damages their business operations. It is entrepreneurial to be open to risk and try something new: without trying something new you can’t have a process for evolution and the business could be stuck spinning in circles without moving forward. It is often the case that the pay-as-you-go CTO can provide the stepping stone that businesses need to readdress their IT and organizational issues.